An investigation has been launched into whether a Kiwi woman who faked being a doctor for over two decades used electroconvulsive therapy on her patients.

The Scottish government's chief medical officer has asked six NHS health boards to provide details of treatments prescribed by convicted fraudster Zholia Alemi, British newspaper News & Star reported.

Alemi, 56, registered as a doctor using a fake de gree when she moved to the UK in 1992.

She was able to do so because the General Medical Council (GMC) never checked that her documents were genuine.


She claimed to have a medical degree from the University of Auckland, but in reality, dropped out after her first year.

She is believed to have worked in NHS and private clinics in Devon, Cumbria, West Yorkshire, Dundee and the Scottish Highlands during a 22-year career.

In November last year, the GMC confirmed it had begun a major review to establish where Alemi worked and how many patients she saw and possibly harmed.

The review came after Alemi was jailed for five years after she was convicted of trying to fake the will of an elderly female patient.

As part of the investigation, new reports claim that chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood has requested records of any new diagnoses made and drugs prescribed by Alemi.

The Edinburgh government is also examining the possibility that hundreds of mental health patients were administered a range of treatments under Alemi's unqualified care, News & Star reported.

One possible treatment prescribed by Alemi to patients during her time in Scotland was electroconvulsive therapy.

Alemi was most recently employed by the NHS as a psychiatrist in Cumbria. She has also been found to have treated nearly 400 patients during a year and a half locum at NHS Ayrshire and Arran in 2007.


Twenty-four of these patients were detained by her under the Mental Health Act, News & Star reported.

The board's medical director, Dr Alison Graham, told Glasgow newspaper the Herald "We are in the process of reviewing all notes. We would like to apologise for any distress this situation may have caused."

Alemi also worked for NHS Borders, NHS board Argyll and Clyde, NHS Tayside, and NHS Highland.